As the start of the school year rapidly approaches, there’s still no consensus regarding the best way for students to safely return in the midst of the current COVID-19 pandemic. According to a recent report in The New York Times, “Many of the nation’s largest districts plan to start the academic year online, and it is unclear when students and teachers will be back in classrooms. Others plan hybrid models, while some are determined to go five days a week.”

Regardless of the preferred approach, every school, college, and learning institution will need to implement measures for maintaining safe social distancing. Here are three essential components that will help keep students and teachers safe while also creating spaces optimized for clear communication:

1. Ensure the Right Technology is in Place

If some schools opt for a blended learning environment in which some students are in the physical classroom while others are interacting remotely, clear and intelligible audio will be necessary for keeping those on the far end of the line engaged.

Biamp’s decades of conferencing expertise can deliver extraordinary audio experiences to classrooms that will be leveraging UC platforms for remote student participation. Whether utilizing Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Zoom, or another UC platform, our conferencing solutions are engineered to provide seamless audiovisual experiences for classrooms of all sizes while enabling unparalleled ease of management.

2. Create a Touch-Free Environment

A major factor that will help schools safely reopen this fall is the elimination of common touch points. Shared cables, remote controls, and touch interfaces all run the risk of transmitting germs from one user to another, and the need to constantly sanitize these tools creates irritating delays throughout the school day.

Fortunately, Biamp’s new Modena Hub family of products enables touch-free wireless connections and content sharing. Teachers can share presentations directly from their laptop or tablet to both a room’s display and the students’ AV equipment, creating a hygienic classroom space thanks to the lack of shared equipment.

3. Maintain Distance While Giving Everyone a Voice

A reduction in classroom capacity to allow for proper social distancing will be critical for in-person classes this fall. But with less people in the room and more space between them, measures must be implemented to ensure that every voice can be heard, regardless of a person’s location within a room.

Equipped with revolutionary Beamtracking technology that provides 360º of room coverage, Biamp’s Parlé microphones actively track talkers and intelligently mix conversations to provide all class participants with a unified experience. With their low-profile design, Parlé microphones are built to blend into a room, keeping the focus firmly on the conversation at hand.

Only when the school year is fully underway will we have a better idea which classroom configurations provide the optimal balance between student safety and engagement; but it’s certain that maintaining both social distance and clean environments will be a necessity. Biamp’s conferencing solutions allow for both, enabling clear connections for students and teachers regardless of the space between them.

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